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Ensconced in the Central Basin in the north-central portion of Tennessee, the city of Nashville manages to offer residents the quaint charm of a small southern town coupled with the amenities of a larger city. The state capital’s population has swelled over the last two decades to more than 600,000 people while maintaining a good reputation as a sought-after tourist destination. Similar in size to Boston or Oklahoma City, Nashville enjoys a mild climate with some hot, humid days in the summer and cooler, but bearable winters. It may snow, but it is rare, and even a dusting can shut the city down for a day.
Nashville has long been a hub for country music, and many stars and record labels still call the city home. With its well-earned nickname of Music City, Nashville is the country music fan’s promised land. Upon landing at Nashville International Airport, visitors are greeted by country music stars’ voices over the loudspeaker, welcoming them to the city, and live country music can be heard pouring out of the various restaurants and bars in the airport.
As a result of both its historic and present-day country music ties, much of the tourism in Nashville is centered around this musical style. Some not-to-miss sites include the Ryman Auditorium and the Grand Ole Opry, the city’s historic music venues. The Country Music Hall of Fame, which is designed to look like piano keys in the front and a bass clef from the air, houses incredible memorabilia from some of country music’s biggest stars. Nearby, the Hall of Fame’s adjacent Nashville Music Garden at the base of “Music Mile” contains the Music City Walk of Fame, a unique tribute to those past and present who have contributed to Nashville’s musical heritage. The names of sixty-one stars, including the recent addition of the band the Kings of Leon, can be found on the pavement here.
History buffs, especially those interested in the Civil War, will be thrilled at the wide variety of both sites and structures located throughout the city. The Battle of Nashville Monument Park and Shy’s Hill are both within the city limits. Just a short drive outside of Nashville lies the Battle of Franklin Civil War Museum to the south and Stones River National Battlefield to the southeast. The Downtown Presbyterian Church, a stunning old structure built in Egyptian Revival style, served as a hospital during the Union occupation of Nashville, while antebellum structures and homes like the Belle Meade Plantation, Belmont Mansion, and the Hermitage are still standing.
Aside from the Civil War, Fort Nashborough is on the banks of the Cumberland River downtown. A stockade first established in 1780, the site represents Nashville’s earliest history and is free and open to the public. The Bicentennial Mall and Tennessee State Museum near the state capitol building celebrate a more holistic history of the state. Art and science lovers, especially those with kids, can enjoy the Frist Art Museum, the Cheekwood Botanical Gardens, the Adventure Science Center, and the Nashville Zoo.
If you’re interested in outdoor adventures, you’ll love the nearly 1,400-acre natural preserve of Radnor Lake. Located just outside the city, it’s a scenic home to local wildlife and offers hiking, biking, canoeing, bird-watching, and other outdoor activities. For residents and visitors who favor more laid-back activities, the General Jackson Showboat, a paddlewheel riverboat that cruises the Cumberland River, is available for dinners and shows. And if you take a short drive south of the city, Arrington Vineyards beckons wine aficionados with tastings, picnics, and wine by the bottle or flight.
With so much to do, you might guess that tourism is Nashville’s leading industry, but that honor goes to healthcare management. Vanderbilt University Medical Center and its associated children’s hospital are the top employers in the city. Automobile production, finance, higher education, insurance, music production, printing and publishing, as well as technology manufacturing, and of course, tourism are all top industries as well. Nissan USA and HCA Healthcare are both headquartered in Nashville.
Nashville prides itself on being “the Athens of the south,” and this is reflected in the various architectural choices that have been applied to both public and private buildings throughout the years. In the heart of Centennial Park, just west of the city’s center, you can visit an accurate replica of the Parthenon, complete with a large statue of Athena inside. This, of course, is done exactly like the Parthenon in Athens, Greece, with particular attention paid to balance and symmetry in its large Ionic columns and triangular roof. It was first constructed in 1897 with updates and refurbishments in the 1920s and 1980s. The statue of Athena was finished and unveiled in 1990, with gilding and painting finishing touches completed in 2002.
Beyond replicas, the Tennessee State Capitol, constructed in 1859, is designed in the Greek Revival style to echo a Greek Ionic temple. The lantern-like structure on the building’s roof is designed after the Choragic Monument of Lysicrates in Athens. Lysicrates was a wealthy patron of musical performances, so it is a fitting tribute to grace the roof of Tennessee’s capital, Music City.
Belmont Mansion, Tennessee’s largest surviving antebellum home, is a thirty-six-room residence designed like an Italian villa in both Italianate and Greek Revival styles. Construction began in 1849, and it was initially the home of Adelicia and Joseph Acklen. Prior to the Civil War, the Acklens opened the grounds for citizens of Nashville to enjoy their zoo and massive gardens. Though now on the grounds of Belmont University, it is still open and available to the public for tours, and it retains much of its original decor and furnishings.
Although there appears to be a very distinct theme among public and historical buildings in Tennessee, the same cannot be said for individual homes. Nashville is an absolute cornucopia of architectural styles, with everything from large Mediterranean Revival villas to small Craftsman bungalows available in the Nashville housing market. Prospective homeowners can see just about any type of home, including Georgian Revival, American farmhouse, French Provincial, Tudor Revival, Cape Cod, Foursquare, and Ranch styles.
Whatever style suits you, there are a few common features that you’ll frequently see in the Nashville housing market. Realm’s data analysis found that fences were the most popular amenity, with mentions in 1,775 recent real estate listings. Decks came in second, with 1,355 mentions. Much like elsewhere in the United States, the love affair with wall-to-wall carpeting appears to have gone sour, as 1,227 listings specify that the property has a wood floor — the third most popular feature. Finally, for a town with many older homes, it appears that owners are doing their best to keep up with maintenance since 1,009 listings discussed roofing while 957 listings mentioned the HVAC system, taking the fourth and fifth spots for most popular Nashville housing market features.
Since Realm’s data analysis found that most homes in Nashville were built in 1950, homeowners need to keep their eyes peeled for structural and maintenance issues. Though many of the older homes in the area may have already been updated, here are a few things common to 1950s homes that can cause trouble for the modern homeowner.
The electrical system in a 1950s house is not able to keep up with what modern users require. There may be fewer outlets than necessary, and there might not be a ground fault circuit interrupter, which can leave the house open to electrical shocks. Finally, the wiring may just be old and faulty, which is a danger by itself.
Much like the wiring, the plumbing in a 1950s home will certainly be showing its age if it hasn’t yet been updated. The galvanized steel and cast iron materials used to initially construct the pipes will likely have rust damage, leaving the home vulnerable to leaky or broken pipes. Potential homeowners may want to get a drain line video inspection to assess the state of the piping in the home.
Furthermore, older, more inefficient furnaces and heating systems paired with the less effective insulation seen in 1950s homes means that electricity costs could be much higher since the home will be prone to heat leakage in the winter. Other issues, like the possibility of asbestos — particularly around heating appliances — and the presence of lead, could be hazardous, especially if you're planning to renovate anything yourself. Less likely, but still possible is that the home has its original plate glass, which is prone to shattering and can be far more dangerous than modern safety glass used in today’s construction.
Particular to the Nashville area, since it gets quite a bit of rain, are poor grading and drainage issues, as well as damp basements, and clogged gutters and downspouts. All of these combined with the age of the home can cause major foundational damage that would need to be addressed.
On a more cosmetic level, 1950s homes may need interior renovations to match the tastes of modern homeowners. Houses in the 1950s tended to have closed floor plans and smaller rooms, both of which are less popular today. Realm’s free dashboard can help you get an accurate cost estimate for any planned renovations and will show you the value that updates will add to the property.
Despite the heavy rains Nashville receives, most homes are generally safe from naturally occurring floods. Realm’s data analysis found that 98% of Nashville homes are not in a flood zone. Even more exciting, Realm’s data also noted that 100% of Nashville homes lay outside of a designated wildfire perimeter that has occurred in the last five years. So even though there may be a fair bit of renovating involved in a Nashville home, most homeowners don’t have the added stress of damage from natural disasters.
Is Nashville real estate expensive?
Although Nashville is currently experiencing a seller’s market, and real estate pricing has soared along with the rest of the country during 2021, Nashville remains more affordable than many other metropolitan areas in the United States. The average sale price as of September 2021 was $388,000, an almost 16% rise from the previous year, while the median price clocked in around $415,000, a 19.9% increase from 2020. So the short answer is: it depends. It is certainly more expensive than it has been in the past, but when compared to similarly-sized cities like Portland, Seattle, or Miami, Nashville is far more affordable.
What is the best suburb of Nashville?
Based on school rankings, crime statistics, and home values, Franklin, Tennessee, thirty minutes south of Nashville, frequently earns the top spot. Honorable mentions go to Brentwood, Nolensville, and Gallatin.
Is Nashville a good place to live?
Nashville regularly finds its way into the top ranks of best places to live in the country. Citing its growing job market, decent housing value, and overall quality of life, Nashville is certainly a lovely place to live.
How much is housing in Nashville?
As of September 2021, the average home value in Nashville was $368,567. Although real estate values are rising, Nashville remains relatively affordable, though certainly more expensive than other, more rural portions of the state.
We currently cover most standalone, single-family homes